Oracle8 Data Warehousing

Authors: Gary Dodge and Tim Gorman
John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1998
ISBN: 0-471-19952-4

Data warehousing applications can be quite a challenge for even the most experienced personnel. The technical challenges of having a high number of concurrent users sifting through large volumes of
data can be quite formidable. Add these challenges to user performance requirements, management expectations of success and an organizational commitment of potentially large sums of money and you
can understand why data warehousing applications have caused more than a few sleepless nights for both DBAs and developers.

The key to data warehousing success is education. You need to educate technical personnel, management and the user community. Their combined input is critical to the success of any data warehouse
application. Educating these groups help them help you make the application a success. You also need to educate yourself. In any endeavor, the more educated you are on the subject, the greater your
chances are of being successful.

I recently had the good fortune of having my editor send me a copy of Oracle8 Data Warehousing to review. Although the title states Oracle8 Data Warehousing, the book covers both Oracle7 and
Oracle8. The quote “Provides proven and tested solutions, not just theory!’ on the book’s cover is a very accurate description of its contents. I have read my fair share of data
warehousing reference books. Most of the information focused on the underlying theory and general concepts of data warehousing. But to be successful, we need more than just theoretical concepts. We
also need to have an understanding of data warehousing mechanics. We must know the steps required to create and administer a successful data warehousing application. Oracle8 Data Warehousing is one
of the few books that focuses on both theory and mechanics of a data warehouse environment. It truly is a hands-on guide to designing, building and managing Oracle data warehouses.

The book’s contents are intelligently laid out. The authors start with the theory behind data warehousing and then progress through the mechanics of creating and administering a successful
data warehouse environment. Topics include: selecting an architecture, Oracle software architecture and features, data warehouse design, building the warehouse, populating the data warehouse,
post-load processing, administering and monitoring and performance and tuning. To the reader’s benefit, the book also covers the more advanced topics of parallel query, parallel server,
distributed data warehouses and OLAP processing.

Gary Dodge and Tim Gorman are data warehousing technical managers within Oracle consulting. The book’s contents reflect their wealth of experience. It is packed with hints, tips, techniques
and step-by-step advice. I have been using Oracle for over 8 years but found that I was learning something new at almost every turn of the page. The benefits provided by these hints and tips should
not be underestimated. The authors’ advice ranges from providing hints on using SQL*PLUS to listings of complex SQL statements used to monitor database performance. Couple this information
with the authors’ in-depth discussions of mechanics and theory and you have an excellent treatise on data warehouse environments.

The authors’ extensive use of charts, diagrams and pictures help to explain the most complex topics. Visual representation of information is a key facet of the learning process. The authors
use this approach extensively throughout the book and it works.

Oracle8 Data Warehousing contains such a wealth of information that its title may not accurately describe the wide range of benefits it offers. The information contained in this book will help
readers with all Oracle applications, not just data warehouse environments. I really like this book and highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Oracle.

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About Chris Foot

Chris Foot is currently working for Contemporary Technologies as a certified Oracle trainer and remote database administration consultant. He has worked as a database administrator and distributed technology strategist for the Mellon Bank corporation and was the Senior Database and Server Architect for Alcoa. Chris has written several articles for Database Programming and Design, The Data Administration Newsletter and Data Management Review. Chris has also worked part-time for Platinum Technology as a client/server courseware creator and certification instructor. In addition, Chris has presented several times at the International DB2 Users Group, International Oracle Users Group and the Open Technology Forum. 

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